Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Design Process

 For my collaboration with Melanie, we decided that I would do a floral, specifically Nasturtiums, which I love and have always wanted to paint, or draw, or make into a quilt. It's just the perfect time to do this, since I am feverish with garden desire, and not a speck of garden yet to plant. I wanted to do something 'designed' rather than improvisational, so I spent some time in research.
I have lots of my own photos of my nasturtiums, and of course Pinterest is jam-packed with gorgeous images, which I studied and sketched.

Sometimes I like to alter a photo to eliminate the detail to get right at the essence of the object. I used my fave photo program Picasa to take a look at the shapes of the leaves and flower.
 Then I spent some time just drawing, erasing and redrawing the shapes I liked. Lots of details, which I would try to distill into just the essentials.
I have a bunch of reference books too, so I dragged those out and looked at how others have tackled the same flower. Love the design-y aspect of these ideas.

 And then I quit for the day and let my brain work on the ideas overnight. First thing this morning I grabbed my coffee, and bounded up to the studio. With pencil in hand I drew my nasturtium, erased, refined and redrew it four times, in different positions. I think I've got it now. The urge, which is so strong, to include every last detail of the real blossom is one I have to resist.
Less, less and less, or simplify, simplify, simplify.
And then the leaves? That was much easier. I cut a leaf shape, and cut it into wedges and that will make the veins, which are so typical of nasturtium leaves.
So now I will make a bunch of flowers and leaves and find a lovely way to assemble them into a composition. The next fun part!


  1. I can't wait to see this one! I, too, love Nasturtiums... the colors, the shapes - I know you're going to have fun with this one!

  2. I love watching your process, very excited to see how this all comes together. I am inspired, must go make something....

  3. This quilt is going to be stunning and I can't wait to see the finished quilt.

  4. Just great distillation!

  5. I am so excited about my quilt! I love the subject you picked and I know it will be beautiful! Hope it is a fun one for you to make....

  6. It's so interesting to "watch" you struggle with the process of simplifying - a subject I need to study closely. Looking forward to this quilt. I remember Nasturtiums lining the walk of my grandmothers home.

  7. Very interesting to see this aspect of the design process, particularly the role of drawing. Thanks so much!

  8. The difference between 'gifted' and the rest is the spark of design genius ... which you've got in excess!!!! I learn so much reading your blog, Thank you

  9. I enjoy seeing the artistic process of others. We're very similar in our process ( not talent, I admit). I struggle to simplify sometimes and don't always achieve it. Nasturtiums are one of my favourite flowers and I grow them every year.

  10. My kids thought I was NUTS to serve Nasturium blossoms on salad. They are beautiful, and have just a bit of "bite"....the leaves are much more "peppery" so I just use the blossoms. If you are growing them, try it sometime! can't wait to see the quilt!

  11. You do such a good job of describing your process. Thank you.

  12. Wonderful watching you design this! How to simplify; where to get inspiration...Thank you so much for letting us into your mind!

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